Inulin- beware yogurt eaters

Knowing I am a microbiology and nutrition dork, a good friend asked me about chicory inulin.

“Is it bad?”

“What symptoms is it known to cause?”

Inulin is normally a ball-shaped polysaccharide (multi-sugar) molecule.

Molecules get their shapes from atom attraction (oxygen is slightly negative looking for 2 extra electrons in its outer valence shell). I’m giving many of you chem nightmares. You can’t unread that.


It explains why some medications with the same chemical composition are medicine and some are poison.

When inulin meets water, the molecule stretches out into long strands, giving the water-inulin mixture a feeling of creamy fat in the mouth.

That’s why it’s used in low fat yogurts, candy bars, ice cream among other things.

There are reported warnings to pregnant women and wanting to get pregnant NOT to ingest chicory.

Web MD purports that it may cause miscarriage.


At a minimum, Web MD warns that if you are allergic to ragweed (aren’t most people?) you should avoid chicory.

Read food labels.

Avoid processed foods-there’s usually corn, soy and chicory inulin in there.

So, my friend, yes, it probably IS your breakfast bars and yogurts giving you such trouble.

If it tastes too good to be true, it probably is.


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